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Soma mine disaster takes 298 lives, Turkey in deep grief - UPDATE

17 May 2014 [10:45] - TODAY.AZ
The death toll in Turkey's mine accident increased up to 298, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz said on May 17, Milliyet newspaper reported.

The number of the mine accident victims in the Manisa province may reach 300 people, Yildiz said earlier.

In total, there are 740 coal mines and 48,706 miners in Turkey.

Over 3,000 people have been killed and over 100,000 have received various injuries since 1941 to the present day in the mine accidents in Turkey.

Some 10.4 percent of the total number of the work accidents occurs at mines in Turkey.

In the first four months of 2014, some 1,235 people were killed as a result of the work accidents in Turkey, 103 of them were female.

The previous worst mine accident in Turkey's history occurred in the province of Zonguldak in 1992, killing 263 workers.

*****
16.05.2014
12:50

The number of the mine accident victims in the Manisa province may reach 300 people, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz said, TRT Haber channel reported on May 16.

"Currently, some 18 people remain under the rubble," he said.

"The government's priority is to rescue the miners who remain under the rubble," he said.

The minister stressed that the rescue operation is expected to complete in the near future.

The death toll as a result of the mine accident in Turkey on May 13 has increased to 284.

"The rescue operations are underway, however, few chances remain to rescue the miners, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources," Taner Yildiz said earlier.

Turkey has announced a three day mourning period for victims of the mining accident.
In total, there are 740 coal mines and 48,706 miners in Turkey.

Over 3,000 people have been killed and over 100,000 have received various injuries since 1941 to the present day in the mine accidents in Turkey.

Some 10.4 percent of the total number of the work accidents occurs at mines in Turkey.

In the first four months of 2014, some 1,235 people were killed as a result of the work accidents in Turkey, 103 of them were female.

The previous worst mine accident in Turkey's history occurred in the province of Zonguldak in 1992, killing 263 workers.

*****
16.05.2014
10:50

The death toll as a result of the mine collapse in Turkey's Manisa province on May 13, has increased to 282 people, Turkish TRT TV channel quoted Taner Yildiz, the country's Minister of Energy and Natural Resources as saying on May 15.

He pointed out that the rescue operations are underway.


In total, there are 740 coal mines and 48,706 miners in Turkey.


Over 3,000 people have been killed and over 100,000 have received various injuries since 1941 to the present day in the mine accidents in Turkey.


Some 10.4 percent of the total number of the work accidents occurs at mines in Turkey.


In the first four months of 2014, some 1,235 people were killed as a result of the work accidents in Turkey, 103 of them were female.


The worst mine accident in Turkey's history occurred in the province of Zonguldak in 1992, killing 263 workers.


***
10:12

The death toll as a result of yesterday's mine collapse in Turkey's Manisa province, has increased to 232 people, Turkish Haber7 TV channel quoted the country's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying on May 14.

Erdogan, who arrived in the Manisa province on May 14, got acquainted with the situation at the mine, where the explosion occurred.

Turkey has announced a three day mourning period for victims of the mining accident, the Turkish Cabinet of Ministers said on May 14.

Turkish flags will fly at half staff in the country, as well as in all the diplomatic missions for the three day mourning period, according to the Cabinet of Ministers.

In total, there are 740 coal mines and 48,706 miners in Turkey.

Over 3,000 people have been killed and over 100,000 have received various injuries since 1941 to the present day in the mine accidents in Turkey.

Some 10.4 percent of the total number of the work accidents occurs at mines in Turkey.

In the first four months of 2014, some 1,235 people were killed as a result of the work accidents in Turkey, 103 of them were female.

The worst mine accident in Turkey's history occurred in the province of Zonguldak in 1992, killing 263 workers.

The report gives the mine accident statistics in Turkey:

March 7, 1983: mine explosion in Zonguldak - 103 dead;

April 10, 1983: mine explosion in Kutahya - 10 dead;

January 10, 1987: mine explosion in Kutahya - eight dead;

January 31, 1990: mine explosion in Bartin - five dead;

February 7, 1990: mine explosion in Amasya - 63 dead;

March 3, 1992: mine explosion in Zonguldak - 263 dead;

March 26, 1995: mine explosion in Yozgart - 37 killed;

November 22, 2003: mine explosion in Karaman - 10 dead;

September 8, 2004: mine explosion in Kastamonu - 19 dead;

June 2, 2006: mine explosion in Balikesir - 17 dead;

December 10, 2009: mine explosion in Bursa - 19 dead;

May 17, 2010: mine explosion in Zonguldak - 30 dead;

January 8, 2013: mine explosion in Zonguldak - eight dead.

*****
14.05.2014
09:45

The coal mine fire in the west of Turkey has killed 201 miners and trapped hundreds underground, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz has said early on Wednesday, in what might become the biggest mining disaster in Turkish history, Anadolu agency reported.

An explosion and fire in the district of Soma in Manisa province followed an electrical fault on Tuesday afternoon.

Yildiz said 363 miners out of 787 who work at the privately-owned mine have been accounted for, including those who died and the 80 people rescued with injuries - four of them in critical condition.

The explosion took place during a shift changeover, Yildiz already underscored, heightening concerns that the death toll may rise.

Dozens of miners have been pulled from the mine as a huge rescue operation is still continuing, AA correspondent on the scene reports.

An exact cause of the blast has yet to be officially announced. Yildiz said the deaths were due to carbon monoxide poisoning, as he ruled out any possibility of firedamp or methane gas explosion.

President Abdullah Gul has ordered the Manisa Governor's Office to use all means available to state officials to rescue the miners.

Prime Minister Erdogan, who has canceled a trip to Albania to pay a visit to the province, has offered condolences to the families of those who died.

Main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu has also canceled all his engagements to visit the area on Wednesday.

A huge crowd of relatives of the miners continue to wait outside the mine for good news on the rescue efforts. Another crowd of relatives flocked to the district's hospital to learn about the medical situation of the injured miners rescued.

A relative of an injured miner, Sema Korkmaz, said rescue teams were trying to reach her husband who had been working as a worker in the mine for eight years, but they failed. "We have not heard from him yet. One of his mate was rescued, who is at hospital."

Meanwhile, Turkish Red Crescent set up tents for the worried relatives of trapped miners.

'Toughest duty'

The workers are thought to be 3.5 kilometers away from the entrance to the mine. Minister Yildiz said the fire broke out 150 meters underground.

Yildiz assured transparency over the whole incident and said the priority was to reach the trapped miners.

"Time is working against us. We are facing a great adversity," he said.

The minister said efforts continue to clean up the carbon monoxide gas inside the mine, indicating that it might cause more deaths in the meantime.

"Unfortunately, I'm carrying out one of the toughest duties for an energy minister," Yildiz said. "And I'm saying this with concern that our distress might exacerbate in the coming hours."

Yildiz's announcement raises fears this might become the biggest mining disaster in Turkish history, with hundreds of workers still stranded below the soil.

The greatest mining tragedy in Turkey occurred two decades ago in 1992, when a firedamp explosion killed 263 people. The second and third highest death tolls were in 1983 and 1990, respectively, leaving 103 and 68 dead in methane gas explosions.

More than 3,000 people have died and over 100,000 injured in mining accidents since 1941 in Turkey, government statistics agency TurkStat's figures show.

Mines and stone quarries are the most dangerous places for Turkish workers. According to data, more than 10 percent of work-related accidents in 2013 happened in the mining sector.


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